A new guide on the use of sewage sludge in food production is available for download here. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a lobby group, has taken writing guidelines for use of sewage sludge into its own hands after accusing the EPA of not doing enough.
When I was working in the composting industry, I was astounded to learn that under EPA Part 503 compost containing sewage sludge could have 1000 MPN (Most Probable Number) of pathogens. Pathogens are viruses, bacteria, and all manner of nasty things that you don’t want your food growing in. By contrast a composting toilet, which turns human waste into compost, is supposed to reduce the pathogens to 5 MPN in the final product. Even then you can’t spread it on your garden, just in case. It appears that this regulation is lax on purpose in order to improve fertilizer sales, and the IATP is backing that up.
What to use instead? If you grow your own food or just simply garden, check out organic fertilizer that organic farms use, which is commonly made from fishmeal. Buy organic food where you can and screen landscaping companies that you hire for your home or business to ensure that they are using non sewage sludge based fertilizer.